CMU Spin-out and Olympus Faculty Project Neon Labs Raises Capital From VCs-Project Olympus - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

CMU Spin-out and Olympus Faculty Project Neon Labs Raises Capital From VCs

What’s in a thumbnail?
Turns out quite a lot when it's attached to a web video.
In fact, depending on the thumbnail it can impact how many clicks an online video receives.
Researchers-turned-entrepreneurs at Carnegie Mellon University are taking this knowledge, based on their scientific work, and creating a company called Neon Labs.
In March the firm secured VC funding from a trio of Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms and angel investor/entrepreneur Steve Blank.
The round was led by True Ventures. The other two VCs involved were Mohr Davidow Ventures and XSeed Capital.
Neon is creating a product that will automatically select the best thumbnail for a video. So far a pilot of the technology has shown it can select a more effective thumbnail (meaning it will make you click on that video) than thumbnails picked by web designer, and is even more effective against the randomly generated thumbnails from current video platforms, according to the company.
The company first hit our radar last year at an Innovation Happens event and was again seen at last fall's AlphaLab Demo Day as part of the university showcase of early stage companies. With technology aimed at online media, I'm sure we'll here more about them in the future.
The firm has two locations, both out CMU, one in Moffett Field at the CMU Silicon Valley campus where CEO and co-Founder Sophie Lebrecht currently works, and the other at the school’s main campus in Oakland where co-founder Michael Tarr works. Tarr, a professor in the psychology department, is also co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and is handling much of the scientific work. Lebrecht is a postdoctoral fellow in the center.
The seed money will be used for continued development of the product... Read More»

By Malia Spencer/Pittsburgh Business Times